It’s been a while since I’ve created a diy. I can tell you that I’ve missed the creative process immensely. I’ve been thinking about this one for a while and trying to figure out the best way to make it happen. It’s easy to put together a photo collage of different pictures but I thought: how cool would it be if I could take one picture and blow it up to a large picture photo grid format? I liked the idea of square frames, so I took the concept of a Instagram post and made my grid 9” x 9“ x 9 frames. I had already found the frames at my local dollar store. The great thing about this concept is that you can do it with any size picture frame: large or small. It will work with any shape picture frame as well. The thing I found out was that it was quite easy to bring this idea together using One piece of free software that is net based. So let’s get into how to make a photo grid collage, shall we?
Find Your Frames
As I was pondering how to do this, I came across these square photo frames at the Dollar Tree. Now, I knew that I wanted my collage to be square and I was having a difficult time trying to find square picture frames that didn’t cost a ton of money. I didn’t want to invest a whole lot into something that I wasn’t sure was going to pan out so when I found these I thought, nine bucks?, I will give this a try.
I bought my frames went back home and took them apart so I started with taking the plastic cover off the front of them flipping it over pulling up a little tabs on the back with the cardboard backing so that I could get to the insert inside of the frame.
Side note, the frames weren’t the best quality and many of them cracked as I was taking them out of the plastic, but for a dollar, what can you expect?
Verify The Dimensions of the Frame Inserts
After I took the cover off the back I decided to give it a quick measure so that I could verify that it was indeed the size that it set on the packaging which was 9 x 9. I was like to double check just to make sure that it isn’t just an approximate measurement. So I got out my tape measure and verify that indeed 9 x 9 was the correct dimension.
Create A Free Canva Account
The first step in this process is to head on over to Canva.com. Canva is a free web based design application. It’s very easy to create an account full of some pretty robust graphic design applications. It’s a great place to add text to Instagram pictures or create graphics for a web page or to do something like this photo grid collage. Simply go to www.canva.com and get started on creating your free account, #notsponsored.
Next you’re going to select create a design
When you click on create a design, a sub menu pops up with the option for custom dimensions. You want to select that option and enter in the dimensions of your frame. Again, mine is 9”x9”.
Tip: It’s important to click on the little down arrow to reveal another sub menu so you can pick inches instead of pixels. Canva will default to pixels in the create a design field but you’ll definitely want to use inches so that your picture will translate to those dimensions that you found on your picture frames.
Once you’ve entered in your custom dimensions, you’re going to see a blank white field to the right. This field is now set to the dimensions you entered and you’re ready to start designing.
I chose to upload this picture of a Japanese garden that’s nearby in my house because I really like that place. I wanted to create a collage that reminded me of a calm place where I like to meditate from time to time. It’s just a serene spot and I felt it would be perfect for this blank wall in my bedroom.
So after uploading the picture all you do is click on it and drag it over to the field that square box that white square box over to the right. It will fill in the box and you can maneuver it around to however you want the image to be centered. Once you’re happy with that, click off of the field and it will be in set. If you need to adjust it just double click the image and you can move it around again it’s very simple.
Next you’re going to download that picture to your computer. I suggest saving it as a .png with a transparent background to give you some good clarity and some focus..
After that, you’re going to go to the elements tab on the left and you’re going to type in ‘grid’ at the top search bar. Find the grid that has all equal sized boxes it’s probably about 3/4 of the way down on the left-hand side. Select that one.
Once you have that grid structure populated in your design field, go back into elements and search for lines. You just want a solid line. It will show up in white but, you can change the color of it to whatever you want using the tools bar at the top of the page above the search bar.
You’re going to overlay the lines exactly on top of the existing grid lines on your field. After that, you’ll go back into the uploads folder and select the edited image you are using for the collage. The image will appear over the grid lines but you can send it behind the lines using the position button at the top, above the field on the right. Click that a few times until the image is behind the new lines you placed over the existing grid. Once the picture is behind those new lines, download the design as a png and save it to your computer.
Go back into the uploads folder in Canva and click upload an image. Select the picture that you just downloaded with the grids and then upload that to Canva.
Once your pictures over in your design field you’re going to click on it and you’ll notice for small white circles in the corner of the picture. These will allow you to make the picture larger if you click on them and drag them to the corners.
Basically what you do is you pull your picture down to the lower right hand corner and pull the corner up toward the upper left-hand corner. Once you have the entire picture filled in you’ll be able to see just that particular Grid.
Just make sure not to have any of the lines showing otherwise they will appear on the final picture.
I like to use the arrow keys on the keyboard to accurately position my picture in the field. It gives me more control and I know that I’m getting my entire image in frame and that I’m staying in line with my overall layout. If there is a bit of photo not fitting in the frame, it will be ok as long as the extra is in the same position for that row of pictures. See below.
You’ll do this for each one of the nine pictures and then you’ll save the picture with a unique file name to your computer. You’re going to have nine individual pictures saved to your computer they’re all the same size.
Print Out Your Creation!
Print out each image. I took mine to my local print shop because they were a little bit larger than what I could print in my 8 x 11 formatted printer at home. It cost $6.00 for high resolution prints.
Cut Out The Pictures and Repeat For Each.
I then carefully cut out each image. This is the process that took the longest. I wanted to make sure they were cut as perfectly as possible.
Double Check Your Layout
Once they’re all cut out place the images in the frames.
I positioned the frames on the floor so that I could see the direction for each one of the pictures to make sure that they were going to line up and make sense when I put them on the wall.
It helps to have another small picture of whatever it is that in your frames to reference mine was on my phone so I just kept looking at it.
Install and Enjoy!
Last step then put everything up on the wall.
If I had to do it over again, I would probably choose clear frames or acrylic frames. I think these frames are a tad bit busy and I’d prefer to have something a bit more simple considering I wanted a calm grouping. I may change them out afterwards. But all in all, I think that it turned out great!
I like the quality of the images and I did not loose much resolution from the original image I took.
If you want some more help with hanging your pictures, I wrote a post showing you how to hang pictures in a gallery wall super fast and easy, linked below.
That’s really it. Not too difficult and what an impact! I think this application would be really eye catching in a little retail shop, you could have a lot of fun switching out promotions for the store. I love the idea of this in a college dorm or apartment. You can make a collage of whatever you want and switch it out from whenever you want! Plus when you use command strips, you don’t have to worry about damaging the walls.
Now it’s your turn. Go and create something spectacular and make sure to tag me over on Instagram so I can see too!
As always, I thank you profusely for taking the time to read and I’d love to connect with you more. I have a couple of amazing free gifts to share with you when you subscribe. First, There’s my brand new super short but, value packed, Secrets That Only Designers Know To Make Your Space Rock. It’s a short guide to utilizing the techniques that all designers use to really make a room pop and it works for every room in your home, guaranteed! Second, if you like fun design quizzes, take my What’s Your Decorating DNA?, quiz. You’ll learn the decorating style that works best for you and you’ll get access to a one page cheat sheet to keep on your phone so you’ll have all your style cues handy when you’re out shopping!
Both can be found right below if you’re on mobile or along the right side of this post if you’re on tablets or full size devices. Sign up is easy and I will not overload you with emails. You’ll just get an email from me when a post goes live or if I have something exciting to share!
Now it’s your turn. Go and create something spectacular and make sure to tag me over on Instagram so I can see too! Can’t wait to connect with you! Until next week my fabulous friend!
I’m Chief Banana at Michael Helwig interiors in beautiful buffalo New York. I happily share my experience in the world of home decorating and design to help folks avoid expensive mistakes and decorating disappointments. I’m pretty crafty with simple diy projects and I love to teach others how to create beautiful and functional decor for their homes. My motto: “every decorating challenge figure-out-able.”